Riga and Jūrmala

We’ve been staying in Riga’s Old Town for four days, and it’s been a neat place to visit. The best part about the trip is that before our arrival I knew next to nothing about Latvia. I knew it was once part of the Soviet Union, and since the dissolution of the Soviet Union has become part of the European Union, but I didn’t know much more about it than that.

We toured the Old Town quite extensively, and a bit beyond – Albert Street (Alberta iela) to the north of central Riga showcases some of the world’s best examples of Art Nouveau architecture, so we had to see that.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in the center of town. This picture was taken from outside our hotel building.
The Bremen Town Musicians statue outside St. Peter’s Church. This statue was given to Riga by the town of Bremen in Germany just before Latvia gained its independence from the Soviet Union. Supposedly it is good luck to touch all of the characters in the statue, which is why their heads are worn down.
Amelia and I at the House of the Blackheads.
The Freedom Monument.
Bastejkalna Park, just east of town.
A bridge in Bastejkalna Park had one of those fences people leave locks on. Also lots and lots of ducks!
The Nativity of Christ Russian Orthodox Cathedral. It was really beautiful inside, but visitors are not allowed to take photographs.

Yesterday we took a day trip to Jūrmala, a beach town that is located just on the outskirts of Riga. Granted, it was (and still is) a bit chilly out, so we were walking the beach in our winter coats, but it was a nice place to visit. Supposedly you can find chunks of amber on the beach, but we weren’t able to find any (and we did look)!

Me in my winter beachwear. I bought this coat at the North Face outlet in Orlando before I left for Europe and it’s already come in handy!

One of the things I’ve found most fun to do in Riga is go for walks in the evening. The town is pretty much deserted at night; even on Saturday evening the Old Town of Riga was relatively quiet. Perhaps this is because the Old Town is primarily a tourist destination and the locals are out partying somewhere else. Either way, I didn’t mind it – I enjoyed walking with the kids and exploring the town at nighttime.

The Swedish Gate. This is one of the last remaining remnants of the wall that used to encircle Riga. Supposedly the town executioner lived here, and he would leave a rose on the window ledge on mornings that an execution was to take place.
The doorway to the House of the Blackheads at night.
Callum in Riga. It snowed the final night we were here (which happens to be tonight, as I type this post).

And that’s it for Riga. We’re off to Tallinn early tomorrow morning…

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